Posted December 12, 2006 by Nick Lindauer in Recipes

How to Make: Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe comes from the Cantina cookbook the mother in law gave me a few years ago. It’s a great recipe for [tag]tortilla soup[/tag] but I strongly recommend you stick to the recipe. We once attempted this soup using canned salsa instead of making the salsa listed below and had to throw out the entire pot of soup. Also, try using low sodium chicken broth and add salt as you see fit. This recipe does take some time considering it’s two parts, but it’s well worth the efforts and it’s certainly a recipe that gets better the next day.

Salsa Rojo
This all-purpose cooked salsa forms a simple dish for chips, a topping for tacos or enchiladas, a pool of sauce for chiles rellenos or a key flavoring in soups, rices and stews. Variations couldn’t be easier: substitute smokey chipotle chiles for the jalapeños, for example, or add chopped cilantro just before serving to give it a fresher flavor.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 fresh jalapeno chili pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups (12oz.) canned plum (Roma) tomatoes with their juices

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chili pepper and salt and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes and their juices and reduce the heat to low. Cook the tomatoes, stirring occasionally to break them up, until soft and the juices have reduced by half, 10-15 minutes.

Salsa Rojo - Red Salsa

2. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth, then let cool completely before serving as a table salsa.

Salsa Rojo - Red Salsa

Red Chicken and Tortilla Soup
The most common use for left over tortillas throughout Mexico, chilaquiles are essentially pieces of stale tortilla cooked or softened in chili sauce. Depending upon the cantina, this can translate into cheesy casseroles, thick porridges or brothy soups. This version relies on red salsa, but green can be substituted.

6 cups (48 fl oz.) chicken stock
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt to taste, plus 1 teaspoon
Freshly ground pepper to taste plus 1/2 teaspoon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups red salsa (see recipe above)
1 cup water
2 handfuls corn tortilla chips


Salsa Rojo - Red Salsa

1. In a deep frying pan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste and add to the stock. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until tender and opaque throughout, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken breasts, wrap in a damp towel and set aside to cool. Reserve the stock.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until soft but not browned, 2-3 minutes longer. Add the salsa, reserved chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

3. Using your fingers, shred the cooled chicken meat into long, thin strips. Add to the pan along with the tortilla chips. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasonings. Continue to simmer over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to soften the chips slightly. The chips should still be half crispy.

Salsa Rojo - Red Salsa

4. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls. Garnish each serving with cilantro, onion, cheese and spoonful of crema or sour cream. Serve immediately.

In addition to eating as a soup (make sure you garnish with a little parmesan cheese – trust me), I also used the soup as the tomato base for Sunday morning huevos rancheros. Gotta love a recipe that you can use for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Huevos Rancheros
Click to Enlarge

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog